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LIV                  PERSIAN LITERATURE                 143
to be critical. It may be objected that in the Caspian
provinces there are forests and a luxuriant vegetation
with masses of violets, primroses, and snowdrops, but
all Persians have ever hated the damp climate with its
malarious marshes and heavy air, and they can see none
of its beauties. In proof of this we find both Tavernier
and Chardin recording that " the air is so unwholesome
that the People cry of him that is sent to Command here,
Has he robb'd, stolen, or murder'd, that the King sends
him to Guilan ? "
Practically all the poets mentioned in this chapter
were natives of Khorasan or Central Asia, and were thus
accustomed to and affected by its steppe vegetation, its
rocky mountain ranges, and its bare plains. On the
other hand, they had the advantage of living in one of
the finest and most delightful climates in the world, with
abundance of brilliant sunshine, an absence of extremes
of heat and cold, and, above all, a most stimulating atmos-
phere, which has helped to endow the gifted sons of Iran
with the marked personality that has been their heritage
throughout the ages.